Brass Napoleon Award Black Southerners and the Confederate Cause--What the newspapers said: 1861-1865

Andersonh1

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Various examples of this story in multiple papers.

Daily intelligencer. (Wheeling, Va. [W. Va.]) 1859-1865, March 13, 1863
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Daily Ohio statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, March 13, 1863
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The daily Gate City. [volume] (Keokuk, Iowa) 1855-1916, March 13, 1863
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Then there's this version, which re-writes the language of the story while adding a note that the army's news is unimportant. I guess the black pickets are the important thing!

The New York herald. (New York [N.Y.]) 1840-1920, March 13, 1863
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Andersonh1

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We're still on March 13, and the black picket story is given the headline "Negro Soldiers in the Rebel Army on the Reppahannock" by the Portland Press.

The Portland daily press. [volume] (Portland, Me.) 1862-1921, March 13, 1863
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A new report on March 14, which is likely related to the previous day's picket stories in some way, says "negro cavalry on the South bank of the Rappahannock below Frederick at the United States Ford" has been discovered.

Dayton daily empire. (Dayton [Ohio]) 1850-1865, March 14, 1863
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The news about the pickets reached as far as California.

Sacramento Daily Union March 14, 1863
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Andersonh1

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Lee gets name-checked in yet another appearance of the black pickets story.

The daily Evansville journal. (Evansville, Ind.) 1862-1863, March 14, 1863
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A collection of various news stories from the war includes news of black men "strengthening the defences" in Charleston SC, and some new information about the black pickets. Two unnamed lieutenants in the US cavalry personally observed 50 black pickets, half and half with white soldiers, only 100 yards away. This was reported to Washington. We'll get the names of these two men and their units in a future report.

The daily Green Mountain freeman. (Montpelier, Vt.) 1861-1865, March 14, 1863
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Andersonh1

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A commentary on a New York Tribune editorial is of the opinion that the North was baited into arming black soldiers by the South just to further unite the South. They also say that the South will easily have more black soldiers than the North, and that even if the slaves are unwilling to fight that they will be forced to.

Washington statesman. [volume] (Walla Walla, Wash. Terr.) 1861-1864, March 14, 1863
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Andersonh1

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"... an official report has been made to headquarters concerning negro cavalry pickets on the south bank of the Rappahannock..."

So when did the pickets become "cavalry" pickets? Someone's added information into the story that wasn't there to begin with, assuming we're seeing these in chronological order. On the other hand, the idea that a report would be submitted about this sighting makes sense, and possibly indicates that this was an unusual sight. I'm not sure finding enemy pickets would usually be a noteworthy event.

Daily Ohio statesman. [volume] (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, March 15, 1863
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After a few days worth of reports on the black pickets, we get more details on who saw them. They were seen on the 7th by a corporal of the 2nd US Cavalry who reported to Lieutenant Thompson, who made him take a "glass" and go back and confirm the sighting, after which Thompson and Lt. Noyes went and confirmed the sighting for themselves, after which a report was made to Washington. All of this would seem to indicate that this sighting of black pickets was unusual enough that it was checked and double checked before being accepted.

Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, March 16, 1863
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Andersonh1

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The Cleveland Leader found the black picket story newsworthy enough to include a headline about it in the news rundown.

Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, March 16, 1863
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At Spring Hill "... the Confederates had three negro regiments engaged, who fought bravely."

Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, March 16, 1863
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The Cleveland Leader found the black picket story newsworthy enough to include a headline about it in the news rundown.

Cleveland morning leader. (Cleveland [Ohio]) 1854-1865, March 16, 1863
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At Spring Hill "... the Confederates had three negro regiments engaged, who fought bravely."

Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, March 16, 1863
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Andersonh1

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So unless I've missed something, we've seen the story morph a bit from "pickets" to "cavalry pickets" and now in this headline to "Negroes acting as Rebel Cavalry".

The daily Evansville journal. (Evansville, Ind.) 1862-1863, March 16, 1863
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The same thing is going on here. This feels like the old game of "chinese whispers" where the story changes over time as it is passed from person to person. Some distortion often occurs. It's a reminder to me of why I try to gather as many different versions of a story as I can rather than just relying on one, because you never know how much things may have been distorted as things have been reprinted from newspaper to newspaper.

The Pantagraph, Mon Mar 16, 1863
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Andersonh1

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South Carolina gave a tax break to free black men who had "been in the Confederate service" but taxed those between 15 and 50 who had not.

Edgefield advertiser. (Edgefield, S.C.) 1836-current, March 18, 1863
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An editorial on the black Confederate pickets story uses the story to once again mock the Copperheads for their opposition to black Union soldiers.

The Weekly Perrysburg journal. [volume] (Perrysburg, O. [Ohio]) March 18, 1863
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Andersonh1

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An account of the battle of Franklin from a Union soldier includes a mention of the black Southerners charging the guns. The "black rebels" yell as they charge the guns and are killed by cannister.

Gallipolis journal. (Gallipolis, Ohio) 1837-1919, March 19, 1863
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The two main stories about black Confederates from recent weeks are both cited here and commentary quoted. "... does it not makes your hearts swell with indignation, that your liberties, your Government, and your happiness should be destroyed by the negro troops of Jeff Davis?"

Rutland weekly herald. (Rutland, Vt.) 1859-1877, March 19, 1863
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Andersonh1

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Sorry I've been slack on the chronological posting lately. I've been working on creating a spreadsheet for all my collected articles so I can quantify exactly what I have. With over 2000 articles, you can imagine that's taking some time. I should have been doing that from the start, so it would be less work now, but I think the end result will be well worth it.

The Confederate Congress passed an impressment law on March 23, so this is likely referring to one house of Congress or the other passing the law before it went to the President for his signature. The law did not authorize black men to be soldiers in the Confederate army, but note the language used by the newspaper, "negroes capable of bearing arms." There's an insinuation here, supported in the second paragraph by "the rebels have been using their negroes all along" both to work and to fight.

The Cass County Republican. (Dowagiac, Mich.) March 19, 1863
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Andersonh1

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The black pickets and the story of the black brigade at Franklin are used to support the assertion that "the rebels are using colored soldiers extensively." And of course, a dig has to be made at those in the North protesting the enlistment of black troops of the US.

The Cass County Republican. [volume] (Dowagiac, Mich.) March 19, 1863
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Two captured servants return to Texas, declaring themselves "tired of the Yankees".

Chattanooga Daily Rebel, March 20, 1863
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